Be Safe and Enjoy the Outdoors


Anyone participating in any outdoor activity should always be aware of the risks and dangers involved in order to stay safe and return to their everyday life unscathed. There is an enormous quantity of information written on safety and it would be really easy to get swamped with info overload. We need to break this vast storehouse of knowledge down into something we can use. If we start with the sun and weather related dangers we can wrap up a lot of the most common dangers immediately. Sunburn is by far the most common danger anyone faces going outdoors and it is also the easiest to defend against. Simply lather on the sunscreen(SF30 or more) and repeat frequently. You will still tan. Slowly and safely. No sunburn. This is called common sense, but in my experience it’s not at all common. The weather can change quickly in all parts of this world and if you are playing in a part of it you are unfamiliar with, seek local knowledge. Some areas are plagued with tornadoes, others with flash floods, and others with severe lightning. Some have the bad fortune of experiencing all of the above. Ask anyone living in the area about the warning signs and best procedures when said events strike.

Animals, large and small can ruin any outing. The really, really small ones are easily repelled with a liberal application of “Deet”. No “Deet” or equivalent for snakes though. Knowledge and acute awareness are your best weapons against the slithery creatures. Don’t walk around in the woods barefooted. Common sense again, right? Other creatures such as raccoons , squirrels, etc can be a genuine hazard due to their propensity for rabies. The most common critter around campgrounds these days is the skunk. He won’t kill you, but you’ll smell worse than death. Once again seek local knowledge about which critters to look out for. Be aware that most places have their version of snipe hunting or “Bigfoot” or some such folklore. It makes good conversation, but you really want info on the more mundane things that go bump in the woods. I don’t have a lot to say about the larger beasts. Anyone that is going to try to be a bears best buddy is not going to read or heed anything I put on these pages.

The terrain you’re playing on is just laying there, but if you get careless it will really “whup yer butt”. Never go walking in strange territory alone. Another rule of staying safe applies whether you are in the city or remote mountains. Be Aware Of Your Surroundings! Loose rocks can roll out from under a carelessly placed foot. Rotten wood can collapse under your weight. Dead limbs fall out of trees, and things are not always what they seem. In the southern coastal areas of these Uniteds, the ground can actually disappear from under your feet. Bogs can suck you into the nether regions or grasp your feet so firmly that you can stand right there and starve.

Now get out there and have some fun!

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